2006-03-20

Bracket Devastation


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Wow. After 2 rounds my brackets are almost completely demolished. Three of my Final Four are gone including my champion and runner up. What a brutal, but exciting, year for March Madness.

Weak 1's: I still hold that the 1's are weak, but that may not matter as all four are still alive and for some, the seas are parting before them.

U Conn barely made it past Kentucky, but now the only teams standing between them and the Final Four are Washington and Wichita State or George Mason. Yeah, I know, don't sell them short, those teams are pretty good, yada, yada, yada. Weekend 2 is when the Cinderellas come crashing back to earth.

Next weekend will show whether Duke is a worthy #1 with two tests; LSU and then Texas or West Virginia (both are playing well).

Villanova is on the most treacherous road for a 1-seed. Arizona a #8? I don't care what they did during the season, the Wildcats are a tournament team and Lute Olson is a tournament coach. Getting by them was a big achievement for Villanova. Next up ... Boston College and then Florida or Georgetown. All three are strong and clicking as we head to the regionals.

Memphis has quietly (as usual) been the strongest 1-seed so far. Bradley shouldn't be much of a threat, but look out for UCLA who should make easy work of the over-rated Zags.

How bad do you want it? When it comes to the bracket-busting surprises the shame of it is that North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas, Syracuse, etc. didn't lose to better teams. They simply didn't come to play.

Old Age and Treachery: Interesting observation by Dick Vitale (I know, I was as shocked as anyone, but I guess when you talk as much as he does you're bound to stumble upon something now and again) on Saturday: With early defection to the NBA becoming so commonplace, we'll be seeing a lot more matchups between experienced upperclassmen-led mid-majors and younger and more athletic power teams. Things have been trending this way for a while now, and while it may prove to be an equalizer that generates some early-round surprises, the big dogs still seem to dominate the Final Four.

March Madness on Demand: Sunday afternoon we had the Kentucky game so I decided to try out CBS' online March Madness on demand to watch North Carolina. Pity the folks who are paying for this "service." It wasn't bad. I did get to see part of the game. Some of the problems ...

As is common with streaming media, the loading/buffering process can take some time and often misfires for high-demand events. Also, even with a healthy buffer, the playback is susceptible to interruptions. Unfortunately this peaked with about 5 minutes left in the game when the teams started trading the lead (in other words when everyone wanted to see it). I was suddenly booted and could never get it loaded back up.

Also, if you're going to use this, don't keep your TV on CBS in the background. The two use different delays, and when other games get exciting CBS will quickly switch over to them. So all of a sudden you have no idea what is going on in the game you are watching because you have no idea what game you are watching and it all just totally messes with your head.

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